Costa Rica Green Turtle Research Expedition

Join our president Brad Nahill for an opportunity to help researchers study green and hawksbill turtles in the Golfo Dulce. Spend 4 days on the incredible Osa Peninsula catching and releasing turtles, restoring mangroves, and more. You'll also visit an indigenous reserve and explore the cloud forest. This trip is in partnership with Portland Community College (though anyone can participate).

This trip can also be done year round as a private trip for families (8 years and up), and small groups. Profits from this trip will help to save at least 100 hatchlings at a turtle nesting beach per participant.

Dates: Dec 8-15, 2018 (3 people currently registered). Available for private groups of 4 or more year round. 

Price: $2,195 per person. Deposit to register: $300 per person.

Discounts Available:

  • $100 discount for the first 6 people to register
  • $50 off per person for paying by check
  • Additional discounts available for private groups of 6 or more
  • Monthly payments are available until 3 months before departure

Includes: Guide, private transportation, accommodations, meals (except where listed), activities, and a donation to turtle conservation.

Excludes: Airfare to Costa Rica, personal items, and tips for the guide/driver.

Notes

  • Individuals can join the set date above.
  • Minimum recommended age is 8 years old, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Group size is limited to 12 people maximum.
  • Itinerary can be customized to meet your group's schedule or preferences.
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CONTACT US TO:

  • Register by mail (online registration not available)
  • Ask a question
  • Request private dates
  • Call us at 800-215-0378 to register by phone
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Why Travel With US?

  • All profits support conservation efforts
  • Work directly with local researchers
  • Unique experiences
  • Personalized service

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE TO SAN JOSE

You will be picked up at the San Jose Airport and taken to Hotel Rosa del Paseo in San Jose. Get a good night's sleep to rest up for the fast paced trip. (Dinner not included this first night and can be purchased at the hotel for $10).

DAY 2: DRIVE TO THE OSA PENINSULA

After breakfast, you'll head to the South Pacific coast in a private vehicle (about a 5 hour drive). Along the way, you will stop for lunch and take in the beautiful views. After settling in to your cabins, researchers from our partner Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) will give an orientation to the turtle research and train you in data collection techniques.

This evening, relax and get a good night’s sleep. Overnight at Delfines de Golfo, a simple family lodge with electricity, private bath with hot water, and tv’s.

DAY 3: SEA TURTLE RESEARCH

Today is all about sea turtles. Head out in a shaded boat with researchers to help set nets in key turtle spots (timing dependent on the tide). Once caught, researchers will bring them to the beach where you will have the opportunity to help carry in the turtles, measure them, weight them, and perhaps even tag them. You’ll be looking mainly for green turtles and hawksbills, which are both endangered. In between turtles, take a swim in the beautiful Golfo Dulce or explore the coastline to look for macaws and sloths.

DAY 4: MANGROVE RESTORATION & CHOCOLATE TOUR

This morning, you will participate in LAST's mangrove reforestation program by working in the nursery and planting young trees. Mangroves are critical for sea turtles and other ocean life and this area has lost much of its forests over the past few decades. We will also work in their small turtle rescue center if there are turtles present.

In the afternoon, you'll learn about the origins of chocolate, which is native to this region. See a farm where cacao is grown and work through the process from seed to deliciousness. You'll also taste many other delicious fruits and learn how organic farming can help wildlife.

DAY 5: SEA TURTLE RESEARCH

Head out on the water again to look for more sea turtles to study and release. Since these turtles don't nest in the area (we're not sure where they nest), catching them in the water is the only way to learn about these turtles and ensure their health. 

DAY 6: BORUCA INDIGENOUS RESERVE

After breakfast, we’ll board our bus and head to visit the Boruca, an indigenous community in the Talamanca mountains. There we will spend an hour in a mask-making workshop, painting your own traditional mask with the help of local artisans. Enjoy lunch at a nearby home while your masks dry. In the afternoon, we head to Cedrela Ecolodge, a small lodge in the cloud forest.

DAY 7: FARM TOUR / RETURN TO THE CENTRAL VALLEY

After breakfast, take a tour of the gardens around the hotel to learn about growing coffee, avocados, and other crops. Participants will also learn about the ecology and natural history of tropical forests. After lunch at the hotel, you’ll board the private vehicle for the 2 hour drive to San Jose. We’ll have a celebratory dinner this evening. Overnight at Rosa del Paseo.

DAY 8: DEPART FOR HOME

Rosa del Paseo provides a delicious breakfast for your last morning. After, head out for the airport in time for your flight, taking along your memories, photos, souvenirs, and stories to tell friends! You can also extend your stay and visit other parts of the country. 

Testimonial

The Osa peninsula is very beautiful. We got to do a lot of snorkeling and sightseeing. The staff and guides are very helpful and caring and take groups out to experience as much fun as possible. The accommodations were nice and the food was always wonderful. 

Boruca mask-making (photo from Boruca.org)

Boruca mask-making (photo from Boruca.org)

Is This Trip Right For Me?

Costa Rica is a safe and beautiful country that receives more than 1 million international tourists annually. This is a fairly an active trip that requires some of physical fitness and an ability to manage sometimes challenging conditions including weather and heat, bugs, and long bus rides. The accommodations are comfortable but plan to spend significant time on boats and on the beach while waiting for turtles to be caught.

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Photo credits: Hal Brindley, James Richard, & Latin American Sea Turtles